Simple Acts of Service for the Holidays

simpleserviceIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Until…it isn’t. Until our kids are asking for ALL. THE. THINGS. And we are looking at our budget asking how to make things “magical” without breaking the bank. And we start to wonder, is this what the Christmas season is supposed to be like? Or have we totally lost the real meaning of it all somewhere amidst the wish lists and Amazon carts?

One of the quickest ways to get our kids (and us) refocused on the beauty of a King born in a lowly manger is to do something for someone else. To stop focusing on us and all the STUFF we want and to spend a little time focusing on others. I promise it does the trick every time! The best part is that the acts of service don’t have to be complicated or expensive. They just have to be heartfelt.

One thing we do every year is to put together goody boxes for our neighbors. We spend a day baking cookies and making fudge, pack them into tins from the Dollar Store and deliver them to the folks who live nearby. The kids love it and the reaction from our neighbors has been awesome. The widow across the street was so touched last year she sent the kids a note and asked for our fudge recipe! (Which is a family secret…from the back of the Marshmallow Fluff jar.) It’s such a small thing, but it can mean a lot to those around us.

Our other yearly tradition was born out of our love of Waffle House. Seriously. My husband used to take a different kid out for breakfast every Friday and the WaHo around the corner was a popular choice. We got to know the wait staff and decided one year on Christmas to drop off cookies for the folks who had to work that day. I have no idea if they even ate what we brought, but they were really touched we thought of them. And our kids looked up from their stuff for a moment and thought of others, which was really powerful. This year we will visit the CVS down the street when we head out for Christmas dinner.

These are just 2 simple ideas. There are tons more opportunities! We’ve also visited local nursing homes and involved our kids in buying gifts for those in our community in need. What are some of your favorite ways to serve as a family during the holidays?